The continued extension of average life expectancy by more than 5 hours per day is a triumph of human ingenuity.
It has delivered huge benefit and promises massive future opportunity.
It is driven by medical advances which prolong the life of older people. The alteration in demographic distribution presents a global challenge on the scale of global warming or sustainability.
Our societal mechanisms, many of which were developed nearly a hundred years ago were not designed to respond to this new societal shape. Failure to transform the way we understand and address ageing means these mechanisms will fail within a relatively short time.
Health systems designed to preserve and prolong life in the face of acute disease must change to deal primarily with chronic conditions.
Social care must adapt to help us all to retain capability and independence for as long as possible rather than supporting only those incapacitated by age.
This challenge goes far beyond health and care to the heart of how we think and act in all spheres of our lives. It covers:
All of these must change if we are to Live Better for Longer.
Newcastle University has a 20-year history of multidisciplinary ageing research.
Hundreds of researchers and more than £20m pounds of research each year, across the University, are focused on different aspects of this global challenge and we are uniquely placed to understand and explain and innovate the complex landscape of ageing.
Through basic science, clinical research, engineering, computing, business, social science and the arts, our extensive multi and interdisciplinary programme of research and innovation helps us to understand and intervene in:
Newcastle University's ageing team attended the 2014 Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow and hosted a debate around the question "How can we live better, for longer, in our communities and maintain our quality of life?".
Download a summary of the key points of the debate entitled "How can we live better for longer?" (PDF: 71KB)